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Revamp irks disabled shoppers

Disabled people feel sidelined as Montclair Mall's revamp has left them without parking bays, a wheelchair ramp and disabled toilets.

Darryl Michel (63) who has been confined to a wheelchair since two years ago, said: “I’m disappointed at the disabled parking facilities in KZN. Only the big malls have everything in order. Since the beginning of the revamp at Montclair Mall, disabled shoppers have had a difficult time. The bays are covered with rubble and building materials and they took away the ramp and the toilets. Before they began construction everything was fine, but now we are left with no alternatives.”

He complained that since construction began, unisex toilets have been in operation. Toilets are too narrow for people in wheelchairs to make use of. Disabled shoppers are forced to double park since the parking bays available are not wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs.

“Some people disregard disabled people. I have seen able-bodied people parked in disabled parking bays walking to the boot of their cars and take put a walking stick and pretend to have a limp. Having a sore toe is not a disability,” said Darryl.

Montclair Mall’s centre manager, Bernice Clarisse said: “We have taken note of the concerns raised by the customer. The issues are all currently being addressed in the revamp of the mall. The landlord of Montclair Mall has invested a huge sum of money in upgrading the mall and therefore, while we empathise with our customers, we also request that they please be patient during this process.”

“All we want is people to be considerate and allow us the benefit to park in disabled parking zones without harassment,” said Darryl. He urges disabled people to display the official wheelchair sign on their cars. For more information on the signs, visit www.qak.org.za

– mbalim@dbn.caxton.co.za

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